Last week marked the long-awaited launch of Gaiji Entetainment’s World War II combat sim War Thunder in the U.S. Originally released in Europe alongside the PlayStation 4 back in November of last year, War Thunder has already attracted a loyal following, and has amassed millions of players over on PC since. Combining aircraft from the 1930s-1950s, Gaijin’s stunning-looking dogfighter boasts a massive and diverse line-up of planes, from iconic staples such as the Spitfire and ME-109 to the hulking B-17 and deadly IL-2 Sturmovik.
Not only is it a highly competent flight sim in terms of fundamental gameplay mechanics, it’s also extremely comprehensive. If you’re new to the world of dogfighting, the arcade flight models and tutorials will be right up your street. If, on the other hand you’re a WWII aficionado and looking for a more nuanced experience, then Realistic Battles offer you as close to the real thing as possible in a video game. You can even paint your plane to your liking, unlock new skins, take part in single missions and a dynamic campaign, and team up with mates in a squadron.
In short, it’s flight fan heaven. So, with the game now out in the U.S., there’s no better time to hop into the cockpit. Still on the fence, though? Then here’s three reasons why you should take the plunge.
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The most obvious attraction for War Thunder, minus its obvious highlights detailed in our review and above, is the fact this game won’t cost you a dime. Gaijin Entertainment offers the full game for the sum of nothing, and while microtransactions are in place if you wish to purchase Golden Eagles to spend on extra crew slots, mission packs, and Research Points, you are under no obligation to do so. So, while you’ll need to grind your way to the higher tiers in terms of unlocking new content, everything is simply down to how much time you are willing to invest in the game. Given the quality of the experience on offer, it’s immensely enjoyable to slowly work your way up the ranks, becoming a better pilot in the process and ultimately unlocking some of your favorite planes. Some of them are even available early on, so it’s not as if you’ll be stuck scraping by on bi-planes for ages.
GROUND FORCES NOW AVAILABLE
War Thunder is primarily a dogfighter, yes, but Gaijin is looking to expand into other territories, the first of which is Ground Forces. While PAL gamers have had to wait over six months for this, U.S. players can experience the joy of blowing each other up in tanks and artillery from day one, as the Ground Forces expansion is out alongside the game. While we’ve yet to experience this avenue of the game yet (stay tuned for our impressions on that, by the way), PC gamers have been lapping up the fun for months now, and reactions have been pretty positive. Aside from offering an entirely new gameplay experience, it also elongates War Thunder’s overall lasting appeal; if the adrenaline-pumping dogfighting is wearing a little thin, then perhaps the more methodical, strategic offering of plonking yourself in a tank will satisfy you while still keeping you glued to War Thunder that little bit longer.
IT’S ALREADY BEEN TWEAKED AND UPDATED TO PERFECTION
Being an MMO dogfighter, War Thunder was plagued by the usual performance bugs, balance issues, and various other oddities that are intrinsically linked to the launch of any major online game. Beginning life on PC in early 2013 allowed developer Gaijin Entertainment to poke and prod its gorgeous WWII romp to near-perfection in time for the PS4 release, and tweak it even more in the months between November and the U.S. release. As such, folk across the pond will have the added benefit of all these patches assimilated into their War Thunder experience, resulting in the most polished version of the game available to date. That means more planes, better handling, more realistic flight performance and lots of maps. All in all, you have a far more complete package than what was on offer back in November.
Read our newbie guide to War Thunder here and check out our review here.